Nana Ohemaa Asante is a first year Honors student and author of several poems that will appear on the blog this year.
A Girl By Any Other Name Is Not The Same
by: Nana Ohemaa Asante
My last name means “thank you” in Swahili.
“Thank you” as in:
“Thank you God there is jollof rice in the house.”
“Thank you God that this black is beautiful somewhere.”
“Thank you for being the only black kid in this class.”
In the way the class tries not to make eye contact with me when we discuss slavery, segregation and racism.
“Thank you for making this campus look more diverse.”
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to win $20,000 so I don’t drown in the same debt that attempted to choke my father until he learned to swim and tread water, then began to teach his family how to do so too. ”
“Thank you” as in:
“Thank you Mummy and Daddy for bringing me here
to a place I fondly called ‘My America’ when I was three.”
Asante means Ghanaian pride and Ghanaian hope and Ghanaian love
“Thank you” in the way we African students do a slight nod of the head when we come across someone else who is black on our way to class.
My name means “Sit down. Be grateful.”
Grateful for my ancestors who molded me into who I am today
with clay of the dark earth sculpted by sunkissed hands, worn palms and bloodied fingernails.
Formed with the determination and the inspiration of broken bodies
And broken spirits.
What does Asante mean to me?
Asante means never forgetting where I came from, what I am, and who I will forever be.
While Rome is a large city, it hasn’t been hard for the World Scholars to find our favorite places to visit including not only monuments, but small gelaterias and pizzerias. After living here for more than two months, we’ve all found places that are almost like home to us. Continue reading
In deciding to come to Rome, I was hopeful that this immersive experience would help me pick up the language quickly. I mean, what better way than to surround yourself with it on a day to day basis?
That being said, within our first few days here I was completely overwhelmed by how little I was able to communicate with the native Italians. I felt like I had been thrown into the deep end of the pool without being taught how to swim. Granted, that was my own fault for coming in with absolutely no knowledge, but I wanted to see how much I truly learned over the course of my time here. The phrase “parla inglese?” became my lifeline for the next two weeks. Continue reading
Upon arriving to John Cabot University, there were many volunteering opportunities and clubs offered to us. The one that stuck out the most to me was the STAND club, in which members go to Joel Nafuma Refugee Center in groups of 8-10 people every Friday morning from 9-12am to socialize, work in the supply room, or help serve breakfast to member refugees. This center is open only from 9-12am as a place for refugees to socialize and eat breakfast, since many of the boarding homes for refugees require them to leave during the day. The past few times I have gone, I have worked in the supply room. Continue reading
Scott Debrecht is part of the first group of Honors students to participate in the World Scholars Program this year. The World Scholars Program allows first year students to go abroad for their entire first semester. Scott chose to go to Rome, Italy.
When I first learned that we had to take a mandatory World Politics class as part of our program here at John Cabot University, I wasn’t too excited. Frankly, I thought that forcing us to take a certain class was kind of silly, seeing as how we were all in international related majors in the first place. However, the first couple of classes put my doubts to ease. Professor Driessen is one of the best teachers I’ve had; he is smart, relatable, enjoyable to listen to, and clearly is enthusiastic about his field of study. Because of this, the material became much more interesting. It is one of the classes that I look forward to going to, even with the additional Honors assignments outside the standard curriculum. Each assignment helps me to understand what we learn in class and to come at all kinds of issues from a new perspective. And even though the class is Honors, it really isn’t that much more work or time than any of my other classes and it has taught me on a much more in-depth level. My knowledge of world events and the nuances of political science has grown so much from this class, while at the same time being enjoyable, and I know my fellow Honors students feel the same. At the time I am writing this, our presentation on the European Union’s view of the American Presidential election is just about a week away, and I know we’ll be working hard to teach the subject to the rest of our classmates. Even if the program were to make this class voluntary, I would still recommend it to all freshman in the World Scholars Program.